In-state DT grabs Vol offer

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As of April 30, Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers have the No. 6 class in the 2014 FOX Sports NEXT recruiting team rankings with 11 commitments.

However, of those 11 commitments there is just one lineman who has given his pledge to the Vols, three-star center Coleman Thomas, leaving fans asking, where's the beef?

Since their arrival, Jones and Co. have been adamant about putting a fence around the Volunteer State and Monday they took another step in that direction, offering one the state's best in the form of 6-foot-2, 295-pound defensive tackle Michael Sawyers.

"At first they wanted me to come down and see the campus and I figured they would offer then, but I called Coach Jones and he told me they wanted to offer me," Sawyers told InsideTennessee. "I was pretty excited about it.

"I am going there this weekend so I am excited to go see everything and see what they are about. It is close to home, SEC school and it's kind of like a hometown hero type of thing. I am just really excited to get the offer from them."

The Nashville, Tenn., native is being recruited by tight ends coach Mark Elder, who handles much of the mid-state for the Vols' new staff.

"I talk to Coach Elder every week," he said. "I like him a lot. He just came by my school last week and we talked about UT and what they want to build. He talked a lot about the facilities and the school. We have a really good relationship."

The Ensworth (Tenn.) High School and All-State Selection is rated three stars by FOX Sports NEXT and has also gotten to know defensive line coach Steve Stripling.

"I talked to Coach Stripling about three weeks ago and I will be talking with him again this weekend," he said. "I am excited to get to know him better and learn more about him and the defensive line there. He said he really likes how I play with my hands."

Sawyers, who fits in coordinator John Jancek's scheme as the three-technique defensive tackle, is also being heavily recruited by Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Miami and Nebraska. Luckily for Tennessee, his new offer will be followed up with a visit to Knoxville and a reunion with offensive tackle and former teammate Tiny Richardson.

"I am just excited to get down there and meet the whole coaching staff and see everything," he said. "I have some friends there too that I want to catch up with.

"(Tiny and I) are pretty close. He played at Ensworth his junior year and half of his senior year before he transferred and we got pretty close. It will be good to see him now that I have an offer from Tennessee. I am just excited to get up there to be honest."

The most important thing for the 2012 Mr. Football Finalist and back-to-back TSSAA Division II Class AA state champion is feeling at home at his next stop in his football career. Academics and relationships with coaches will also factor in, but for now he is focused on improving his game.

"I am really good with my hands and I have good lateral quickness," Sawyers said. "I am good defending the run as far as overpowering people in the run game. I need to work on my footwork because I hurt my ankle last year so I am trying to get that back."

Sawyers finished his junior season with 65 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Watch highlights of his wrecking-ball season below:

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